From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Worried by the growing population of Nigerians diagnosed with malaria which as at 2016 World Malaria Day was put at 31 million, a leading indigenous pharmaceutical company, MIRAL Pharm Limited is partnering with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to find workable solution to the menace.
Consequently, the company has instituted an essay competition for all the undergraduate students of universities starting with UNIZIK to recommend steps to malaria elimination.
At a press conference to officially call for essays from the undergraduate students of UNIZIK and held at the university’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Agulu in Aniocha Local Government of Anambra State, the Managing Director and CEO of the company, Mr. Onyeka Onyeibor, said the topic for this year’s edition was in line with the theme for the 2016 World Malaria Day, “End Malaria for Good”, adding that the scheme was targeted at promoting health literacy and research.
Onyeibor, expressed hope that the essays would uncover actionable research interests and Miral Pharm was favourably disposed to supporting such research efforts. “Through the ‘End Malaria for Good Project’, Miral Pharm Limited intends to encourage thinking and improve expressions amongst students as well as contribute knowledge to the nation’s research base,” he said.
Explaining the nature of the competition, the Project Coordinator, Miral Pharm, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi, said that each essay would be evaluated by three independent examiners based on ingenuity, structure, insightfulness, content and language style, warning that plagiarism would not be permitted as students were expected to reference the source of any information used.
“To enter the competition, participants are required to register and submit the essays which should not exceed 1,000 words through an online portal, www.miralpharm.com,” she said. “The registration and submission is expected to end on the 1st of March, 2017. Prizes to be won include one-year scholarship and a trip to selected facilities in India for the first prize. The second prizewinner will get a one-year scholarship with a laptop while the third prizewinner will be offered a one-year scholarship. Consolation prizes will also be won.”
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of UNIZIK, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Carol Arinze Umeobi, commended Miral Pharm while re-assuring them on the partnership with the university. He noted that malaria being the leading cause of morbidity and mortality poses a serious health challenge in Nigeria.
Ahaneku stated that Nigeria must brace up to the challenges of eliminating malaria in the country by first providing access to the World Health Organization’s recommended package of effective tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria for people at the risk of the disease.